Endangered species definition
"Endangered" means something in danger of being harmed, unsuccessful, lost, etc. Endangered is when something is at a very high risk of extinction from the world, and when species are threatened by extinction are considered endangered.
Species can be regarded as a tree, insects, animals, corals, or other living organisms surviving on this planet, and all together, these species are called "biodiversity."
We can't count the number of species as millions exist on Earth, and new species are discovered regularly. In these countless species, we can remember and record some of them by protecting wildlife and wild places.
99% of the species are on the edge of extinction and counted under endangered species because of human activities, and these humans (homo sapiens) are the greatest threat to biodiversity. Other reasons include natural hazards, climatic conditions (global warming and chemical pollution), habitat degradation or loss, unsustainable hunting, diseases, or pandemic that endanger the species but major drivers of biodiversity loss caused by human beings by their cultural and economic activities.
"Endangered species are species (plants and animals) surviving on the edge of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range. It includes the end of certain species on the entire Earth."
Endangered and threatened species are two different terms:
- Threatened species are categorized as likely to be imperiled in the coming future throughout all or a significant portion of their range.
- Endangered species are categorized in danger of extinction throughout all its range.
Example of endangered species
According to IUCN there, more than 41000 species have been assessed under the threat of extinction because natural spaces and wildlife numbers are declining. According to the living planet report (2022), the global wildlife populations have plummeted by 69% since 1970. Here are some of the world's endangered species:
||Sunda island tiger
|Yangtze Finless porpoise
||African forest elephant
||Western Lowland gorilla
|African wild dog
||Indus valley dolphin
||Sri Lanka elephant
||Black spider monkey
||North Atlantic Right Whale
||Leather Back turtle
|Amazon river dolphin
|The fresh water dolphin
||Butter fly (hermes copper)
||North Atlantic right whale
||Little Mariana fruit bat
||Flat Pigtoe Mussel
||Bridled White eye
|San marcos Gambusia
||Southern Acornshell Mussel
||Yellow blossom pearly mussel
||Upland Combshell Mussel
Some of the other factors responsible for endangered species:
- Displacement or competition by invasive species
- The exploitation of species by a human for recreational, scientific, commercial, educational, or other purposes that diminish the range of species
- Modification or destruction of species' habitat by human activity like mining, agriculture, urban development, deforestation, and pollution.
Protection of endangered species
It's important to help endangered species because they are part of our ecosystem, nature, and biodiversity. Species and trees are interconnected, as trees depend on them for pollination and seed dispersal. These species protect forests by eating herbivores and insects that can harm trees and plants. Species are a part of the food chain that also help maintain ecosystem function and keep forests healthy. Here are some of the ways through which we can save endangered species from extinction:
- Reuse and reduce: By reusing the products (household or other daily use items), including second-hand furniture, electronics, toys, clothes, and other things, that help in reducing the energy consumption required to make new ones and produce less waste and using a reusable bag, bottles for beverages, and carrying their container to the restaurant.
- Prevent harsh chemicals: Toxic chemicals poison the aquatic or marine life and animals that feed on them. These chemicals used in dishwashing, industries, laundry, and other professional and personal care products end up in underground water.
- Waste disposal: Waste is a major problem nowadays as it is not easily biodegradable due to the involvement of metal, plastic, and glass materials. This waste spoils the natural habitat of birds, animals, and aquatic species because humans dispose of all waste in the environment without considering the consequences.
- Slow driving: With the broadening of civilization, people have destroyed forests to build their homes, due to which animals came closer to humans. Species start living in developed areas and navigate a landscape of human hazards. Species/ animals come to the roads of developed areas day and night as these roads divide their habitat. When animals try to cross the street from one side to another, they meet with an accident due to rash driving. To prevent this, we must slow down and watch for wildlife.
- Home should be wildlife friendly: We should warm our home wildlife by securing garbage in cans with locking lids or shelter, locking pet doors at night, and feeding them indoors. With this, we prevent attracting wild animals to our homes. The use of water in the house and garden should be reduced to increase the survival rate of animals near water. Due to collisions of windows, millions of birds die every year, and it can be reduced by placing decals on the window in the home and offices.
- Prevention of soil pollution and erosion: Protecting soil pollution and protecting water resources help species survive. It also increases the tress production and oxygen level in the environment and water.
- Support organizations that prevent endangered species: To save endangered species' habitats, some organizations work on a mission accommodating your concerns. We must act as a volunteer and donate our time and material support by adopting our favorite endangered species.
- Harassing wildlife is cruel and illegal: The government has banned trapping, shooting, or forcing a threatened or endangered animal into captivity, it is illegal for everyone as it leads the species extinction. Anyone found committing these crimes is reported to the local state or federal wildlife enforcement office-a list of state wildlife departments is available at https://www.fws.gov/offices/statelinks.html.
- Maintaining a healthy backyard habitat: Prevention must start from home, therefore maintaining a healthy backyard with native plants and greenery without using pesticides and herbicides. To stop spreading diseases, bird feeders should be sterilized, and baths should be provided.
Endangered Species Act
When animals and even plants were in danger of extinction due to hunting and many other reasons, the government proposed the endangered species act to conserve endangered and threatened species and their ecosystem. It was proposed before and passed in 1973 by Congress to protect species, our native plants and animals would become extinct. President Nixon said when signing the endangered species act, "Nothing is more priceless and worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed."
It's been 50 years today. This act saves endangered species with a success rate of 99% to protect species from extinction. This species act is a provision or framework designed to conserve and protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats (domestically and abroad). Species are categorized in two ways to put in the endangered species act:
- Some are "listed species" protected under the ESA, including plant and animal species.
- Some "candidate species" are being investigated for possible protection under the ESA.
This is crucial as it protects all wildlife, domestic, and agricultural species (native fish, plants, and animals) from extinction. Even not only species, but this act also prevent ecosystem around them that provide food and a place to live. ESA is important as it preserves threatened and endangered species and offers solutions for terrible diseases to sustain the natural ecosystem and enhance the general quality of life.
Provisions of the Endangered Species Act
Some of the major provisions including in ESA are:
||This section includes these points:
- A federal list of endangered and threatened plants and wildlife species is added
- Designated critical habitat
- Protective regulations are developed for threatened species
- Recovery plans are developed and implemented for listed species
- The status of listed species is monitored and developed
|Sections 6, 7, 8 and 9
||This section provides the following:
- Grants are provided to states and tribes for species conservation
- Investigating violations of the ESA
- With other nations, bilateral and multilateral agreements are made to encourage the conservation of listed species
- Authorities consult on federal actions which affect listed species or designated critical habitats that help in minimizing possible adverse effects
||This section includes the following:
- To learn about listed species, authorities permit or issue scientific research or activities that enhance the survival or propagation of listed species
- For the long-term conservation of species, safe harbor agreements and candidate conservation agreements with assurance are made. To develop conservation plans, authorities are cooperating with non-federal partners.
- To conserve and recover species, experimental populations are designated.
Pros and Cons of the endangered species Act
|Able to bring the number of species back from the brink of extinction
||The law of protection of every species is extremely flexible and inflexible regardless of other consideration
|Aesthetic value: Able to preserve the pleasant experience of seeing the species roaming in their natural habitat
||Sometimes healthy species are placed on the list under ESA
|Environment enhancement: Some environmentalists stated that there should be a limit to the extinction of species that the entire globe or particular ecosystem can endure. After exceeding the limit, the food chains would be a breakdown, and deterioration of the environment would to the extent that could lead to widespread famine (starvation). In the future perspective, the Earth itself cannot sustain human life.
||Long-term and short-term economic benefits conflict with the preservation of certain species. Land restrictions protect the habitat but negatively impact business and tourism and result in the loss of jobs.
|Ecosystem preservation: ESA changed all the previous acts and placed greater emphasis on ecosystem preservation to prevent the extinction of certain species
||Enormous court costs: pre-development and pro-development groups' lawsuits add the expense of enforcing ESA
Categorization of Endangered Species
The endangered species are selected on different measures and categorized by the ICUN Red List (the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of threatened species), established in 1964. Further, it became the world's most comprehensive information source on the global conservation of animal, plant, and fungi species. This red list indicates the health of the world's diversity by listing them with their status. It is powerful to protect the natural resources needed for survival and catalyze action for biodiversity conservation and policy change. It does the survey and collects all the information about species, including species population size, range threats, habitat & ecology, use or trade, and conservation actions necessarily required in conservation decisions.
Through the efforts of the IUCN list, more than 153,000 species have been assessed, and still working to evaluate all of the species and protect the world's diversity.
The IUCN red list categorizes these species into nine parts:
- Not evaluated
- Data Deficient
- Least concern
- Near Threatened
- Critically endangered
- Extinct in the Wild
Endangered species are valuable for us and our environment, so preventing them is necessary. For this, we can join and support the endangered species conversation organization. In our lifetime, we must visit national parks and wildlife sanctuaries to discover and understand our ecosystem. Species or animals/plants are living beings on Earth (less populated than humans) that play an important role by supporting us in our daily survival. We must educate ourselves about these endangered species and species native to our area to protect them. The government and other organizations run various campaigns to save the Earth's vanishing species which are:
- Protecting the Earth's lungs, the Amazon rainforest
- Reviewing Europe's Birds and habitats directives
- Saving the rhinos
- And many other campaigns
Protecting endangered species has ecological, medical, agricultural, and aesthetic/ recreational importance; therefore, we should have a strong and powerful Endangered Species Act that can be fully funded and reauthorized. ESA is the first life of defense against extinction for all the nations in the world to protect endangered species.